What’s scarier than a car wreck? A car wreck where one of the vehicles is a semi-truck. Did you know that around 5,000 people each year die because of a wreck with a semi? It’s a terribly frightening statistic. Then, there are the victims who are left with severe injuries, disability, and a huge pile of medical debt. These wrecks are truly disastrous.
If you’ve been involved in a wreck with a semi, you may have a personal injury claim. Keep reading to learn how you can protect your legal rights.
Fault in Personal Injury
Fault is very important for personal injury claims. Personal injury has four elements:
- There must be a duty. For instance, all trucks must drive the posted speed limit for large vehicles on highways. Often, this speed limit is five to ten miles per hour less than passenger vehicles. It is posted on a sign and specifies it is for trucks.
- There must be a breach of that duty. If the posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour, and the driver was driving 70 miles per hour, the driver is breaching the duty that is owed to the other drivers.
- Breaching the duty must have caused an actual injury to someone (or to someone’s property). So, in this instance, if the speeding truck couldn’t see over a hill where vehicles were merging on to the highway and hit a vehicle, the company would bear a lot (or all) of the fault.
- The claim must meet what is commonly known as the but-for test. This determines that the accident caused injuries. “But-for speeding, the driver could have stopped before colliding with the other vehicle and causing an injury.”
Fault is important because it affects compensation. In many states, personal injury law uses contributory or comparative negligence. That means the court will look at what each person involved in the accident was doing and whether it contributed to the accident. If the plaintiff is 51% or more at fault, they generally can’t be compensated by law.
If you are in an accident with a truck there are a few steps that you can take to help ensure that you receive proper compensation. The first step to take is to contact an attorney. An experienced trucking lawyer will be able to help balance the playing field against a much larger company.
If you are physically able to, it is important to start gathering evidence at the scene of the accident:
- Take Photographs – Photographs will help document the damage caused by the accident. Most pictures taken with a smartphone will also keep time and location that the photo was taken. This will help keep track of the details of the accident.
- Gather Contact and Witness Information – Make sure that you take down the information of all of the parties involved. In addition, you should speak with anyone that witnessed the accident and give his or her information to your attorney.
To prove your damage claim, you will also need to gather evidence after the accident:
- Medical Documentation – Keep all of your medical records and bills. Records of the types of injuries sustained and amount of money paid for medical treatment is essential.
- Vehicle Repair Estimates – Bring your car to a reputable auto repair shop to get an estimate on the cost of repairing your car.
Sadly, that settlement didn’t end Mrs. Morris’ ordeal. Her insurance company filed a suit against her because they had paid out some money toward her claim regarding her husband’s death. This wasn’t just a claim for personal injury – it was a claim for wrongful death. This is why working with an experienced personal injury attorney is so important when you’ve been involved in a wreck with a semi-truck. You may want to have an attorney on hand that can help protect your legal rights.
*The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Crete Carrier, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.